(Did you miss PART ONE of this two part series? CLICK HERE to see my first FIVE reasons to not visit Walt Disney World this year!)
BREAKING NEWS: I (Michaela) love Disney World. I really do. I love it so much that I help other people get there. I love it so much that I co-host a podcast dedicated to all things Walt Disney World (and Disney Parks….and beyond…)
But, it is not the ONLY vacation destination that I love. Aside from a podcast host, I’m also a full-service vacation planner, and that means ALL THINGS *VACATION* – not just Disney World vacations. And I am the last person to tell you that Walt Disney World is the perfect vacation for everyone, in every situation. It simply is not. There’s a great big NOT-DISNEY world out there to see, and lots of reasons to consider some alternative vacation options this year. Here are the final FIVE of my list of Ten Reasons NOT to Visit Walt Disney World this year!
6) It’s Too Hot.
If you are anything like my husband, then 95 degrees and 100% humidity without a pool in sight is not your idea of a perfect vacation. Now, obviously, there are ways to avoid this kind of weather (we love November, January and February at Disney World) but those times of year aren’t always ideal travel times for families with kids in school. If you are there in the summertime, its hard to forget that Disney World was *literally* built on a swamp. If that’s not your jam, might I suggest….
Alternative: Alaskan Cruise
Picture this: You, your favorite person, a blanket, and a cup of coffee (or glass of wine!) cuddling on your private stateroom balcony while you watch the snow-capped mountains of Alaska slowly pass by. Glaciers crack, whales meet your ship, and you have a microbrewery tour to look forward to in your next port. After that, you can sea kayak in Orcas Cove, or take a seaplane to Misty Fjords. Sound cozy? Try a gorgeous Alaskan cruise! The Norwegian Bliss is Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, setting sail next year, starting in Alaska, and it’ll be amazing! This cruise ship was custom-built for The Last Frontier. Plus, who can resist that new cruise ship smell?
Don’t sweat it. Literally.
7) It’s Too Crowded.
You can’t go to literally the most popular vacation destination in the world and not expect some crowds. Plus, if you are locked into the school breaks, there’s even less chance of avoiding them. Yes, it’s a big place (relatively), and with some careful planning, you can definitely make crowded times work, but what if you don’t really want to do the careful planning (or book someone like me to do that for you)? Or what if you have someone in your party who really truly cannot handle crowds or has anxiety issues with crowds?
Alternative: Karisma All-Inclusive Resorts
No need to book a FastPass+ 60 days in advance for this one to skip the long lines! With limited numbers of suites/rooms available, Karisma all-inclusive resorts are just big enough to have things to do while you are there, but cozy enough not to have to worry about fighting crazy crowds at the pools and restaurants. (And as an added privacy bonus, most properties have private swim-up suites available, so you don’t even have to bother with the main pools!) With drinks, food, and activities included, you also never have to worry about keeping track of your budget, because it’s already been paid for. Plus, some family Karisma properties offer the Nickelodeon Experience – so if you have Ninja Turtles, Dora, or Spongebob fans in your house, this is a great option. For families, check out Azul Riviera Maya or the brand new Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana (which is nothing at all like you would expect!), or for a kid-free ultimate luxury getaway, check out the brand new adults-only Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma.
8) It’s Too Far.
I feel you on this one, guys. For those of us (*coughMeToocough*) who live too far from Central Florida to make an easy 1-day drive there, this can be a deal breaker. You can either pay more to fly (and we do often get good deals on Southwest, but that’s not always available) or you can give up valuable vacation time driving to and from Central Florida. Neither of those are options I love. So what if you can’t manage the extra cost of flying or extra drive time?
Alternative: Staycation-ish with Yankee Holidays/Amtrak Vacations
Confession: I lived in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (Edinburgh, Scotland) for four years and by the time I left, I realized there was plenty there that I never took the time to see! When you live somewhere, it’s easy to forget what great experiences you have right in your own backyard. (And to note, I did get to go back later on vacation and do some of those touristy things in Scotland!) Yankee Holidays offers some really awesome tours in almost every major city in the U.S., that are super affordable and can make you FEEL like you are on a vacation farther away, with brand-new experiences you didn’t even know existed so close to home.
For an added bonus, take the train and get your vacation started as soon as you climb ALL ABOARD! Amtrak Vacations offers some really stunning and unique rail touring experiences, such as the American Heritage Experience including Boston, NYC, Philadelphia and Washington and California Zephyr Rail Experience from Chicago to San Francisco through some of the most beautiful scenery the West has to offer.
9) You Want to See The World.
So maybe you’ve done Disney a few times and you love the World Showcase, but you’re inspired to see the real thing. (I personally have my visit to the World Showcase at the age of 11 to thank for my love of travel and inspiration to become a vacation planner!) As great as the World Showcase is (where else can you see so MANY types of countries and cultures in one location?) There’s tons of real life, non-Disneyfied culture to see and experience. But if you aren’t really the backpacking type and would rather stay in one bed and see a lot of cultures….well, we can still make that happen!
Alternative: Ocean (or River) Cruise
Many people in the U.S. immediately, think of Caribbean beaches when they think of a cruise. But there are truly thousands of cruise options available around the world, with breathtaking ports of call. Skip the Caribbean beaches (unless that’s your thing), and try Europe or Asia instead. Or try a combo of both the Caribbean and Europe and take a Transatlantic repositioning cruise to get a great mix of island sun AND European culture (usually for INCREDIBLY cheap prices). Find amazing deals starting at $549 from Royal Caribbean from Tampa to Spain (as of 3/2017). Plan these in advance – cruise ships usually relocate in the Spring and Fall. Go luxury with my aforementioned recommended river cruise line, AmaWaterways to see some of the best cities in Europe, with (unlike ocean-going cruises) shore excursions in EACH port included with your trip pricing! (And I already mentioned the drinks and food!)
BONUS: The TRIPLE THREAT!
See the world (4 different countries or more in some cases), AND experience an AmaWaterways river cruise ship AND get personal, attentive, and top-of-the-line tour guides from Adventures by Disney! Check out one of their family river cruises on either the beautiful Danube or stunning Rhine River.
10.) You Love Disney….But You Also Love the Beach.
So maybe you do love Disney but you also REALLY love the beach. And Walt Disney World is not on a real beach.
Alternative: Disney’s Aulani, Vero Beach or Hilton Head Island Resorts
If you’ve been on a Disney Parks vacation before, you probably already know about their amazing Hawaiian resort, Aulani. But did you know they have two OTHER fantastic beach resorts that *don’t* require a pricey flight overseas OR a theme park ticket? (Not that theme park tickets are required to stay at a Disney Parks resort, but it’s hard to argue that with your kids if you are that close!) This year, try Disney’s Vero Beach or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Beach Resorts. These resorts both offer Disney service, activities for kids, teens and adults, and those character dining experiences your kids love! Did I mention the Atlantic Ocean is at your doorstep? (And in the case of Vero Beach, you can still make a quick Orlando stop if you want – it’s just about two hours away!)
Just remember: ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE! Write your own Adventure Book!
Need help deciding, or want to know more about any of these options? Email Michaela at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the information form on our website here. I’ll get back to you ASAP!